How did I get here?

The biggest worry the unemployed have is “when will this end?” You search and you agonize and you pray to find a job. You finally get one and the relief sets in. But no one talks about how you feel 9 months or so down the road. In polling my friends who were recently unemployed and now have been in a new job, many are wondering, “How did I get here?”

After all the work of searching for a job (and it is WORK!), many take a job and realize that it isn’t what they want to be doing. We are a country of “under-employed” and of highly qualified workers who can’t find a job in their field…so they settle.  They take consulting work, part-time work, or a full-time job at a substantial pay cut to just be working again.

The reality is this. After a year or two of not having a job, the hope is gone and the money is running out. You got through weeks and months of no interviews, no responses and no hope. Then you get an offer of an interview. You go in. You are just so happy that someone has finally recognized that you have talent and that you want to work. You have something to contribute! The interview process goes on,  but maybe this is the only job you have been offered. And you take it, thinking that this is the answer to your prayers. The fear bred in us through the media that “things are NOT getting better” forces our decision-making.

But months later, many workers find themselves dissatisfied. This isn’t what they thought it would be. This is a step back, a pay cut, a moral loss. It’s a paycheck, not a career. I loved my job so much and when I lost it, I was adrift for a while. I was one of the few people who would always say how much I loved my job. And to lose it all, 18 years of hard work in an instant, it leaves you shell-shocked and doubting your value. You didn’t want to change your career, you had to. And some find themselves lost, adrift and floating in a new job that just isn’t the right fit or the thing that gives you a high level of satisfaction any more.

So after the “How did I get here?”, you ask the “Now what?” question. Do you stay in a job and make do? Or do you start the brutal process of job hunting again? What was once a straight career path has now become a windy road of twists and turns. This is the new post-unemployment world.


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